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Home / Reviews / Smith Ignite MIPS helmet review

Smith Ignite MIPS helmet review

The Smith Ignite MIPS helmet has a lot of appeal, but is it worth the spend? We take to the road and wind tunnel to find out...

Smith Ignite MIPS helmet
Credit: Rob Slade

Out of the box and the Ignite MIPS from Smith Optics stands out from the competition in its use of the Koroyd material inside the two key airflow channels for impact protection in the event of a crash.

This honeycomb material has been utilised in Endura’s helmets over the years and the energy absorption safety benefits seem clear, as is Koroyd’s ability to stop bugs intruding into the helmet.

That said, if you do get an itch underneath, it’s hard to give it a scratch….

Safety, weight and value for money

Couple with the MIPS brain protection system that aims to reduces rotational forces caused by angled impacts to the head, and the Ignite seemingly ticks the safety boxes, which makes it strange that the Virginia Tech Institute has yet to rate the helmet for safety.

The Koroyd material hasn’t impacted hugely on the Ignite’s weight, either, with the 283g weight for a medium (55-59cm) putting it in the general weight ballpark of aero road helmets.

Although it’s still a serious outlay, the £229 price is about par for the aero road helmet cause as well.

The Ignite MIPS is available in six bold colours and three sizes (S, M and L), but we did notice that the helmet was sold-out on Smith’s website at the time of press.

Aero performance

Smith Ignite MIPS helmet being tested in the wind tunnel
Credit: Rob Slade

The streamlined shape and Koroyd hasn’t done the Ignite MIPS any harm in the aero stakes, either.

We tested its aerodynamic abilities in our independent wind-tunnel analysis at the Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub with The Bike Tailor this summer.

Its performance over our baseline Decathlon helmet at a 7.5° yaw angle with the rider on tri-bars was a vast 34secs faster over a 40km bike leg at 30km/h and 9.1secs faster when riding at 40km/h.

This places the Ignite MIPS second in the standings for riding at 30km/h and seventh at the faster speed of 40km/h, suggesting this is one for all-day riding.

Ventilation and comfort

The six front facing vents and rear port struggled when it came to the airflow during hot and/or intense rides, however, quite possibly down to the Koroyd sitting inside the two major ventilation channels.

Admittedly, it wasn’t an issue (and was even quite welcome) on cooler days, but I’d look elsewhere for racing in the heat or on especially hilly triathlon courses.

The MIPS Ionic+ padding is comfortable and neatly inserted into the helmet’s interior, but I again found getting the split straps to sit flush on my face as struggle (see also the Specialized S-Works Evade 3).

The retention dial has a firm click, nonetheless, while the finishing quality of the outer shell suggests that the Ignite MIPS has plenty of durability.

Take a look at our full list of the best aero road helmets for more reviews.

220 Triathlon verdict

Fast in the tunnel and with top safety features, but lacking appeal for hot and hilly races. Score: 84%


  • Impressive aero credentials
  • Very good safety features


  • Limited ventilation for warm or intense rides
  • Struggled to get the straps to sit nicely

Smith Ignite MIPS helmet specs

Available from:Smith Optics
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